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Oktoberfest canceled due to coronavirus pandemic

International

(ABC News) — Germany’s iconic Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year, around 6 million people flock to the festival grounds in Munich, the capital of southern Germany’s Bavaria state. This year, the annual festival was slated to run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

After meeting with Munich’s mayor on Tuesday, Bavaria’s minister-president, Markus Soder, said they agreed the risk is “too high” to let Oktoberfest 2020 take place since “you can neither keep your distance nor work with facial protection” at the festival.

“We are living in different times,” Soder told a press conference.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter added, “It is an emotionally difficult moment and of course it is also an economically difficult moment for our city.”

Germany, which has more than 147,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, lifted some social distancing measures on Monday, but major events with large audiences remain banned until at least the end of August.

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